Today we are speaking with Bill Chase on the subject of restoration of collectible firearms. Mr. Chase is a very talented machinist and artisan, and has substantial experience in restoring firearms, including manufacturing new parts for some very rare and valuable guns. This video was promtped by my discovery that he had purchased a really rough Reifgraber .32 S&W pistol that was featured in a Forgotten Weapons video several years ago, and had restored it to a beautiful new condition. So – what is involved in that sort of work?
Here is my original video on this Reifgraber:
Interested in owning the gun now restored? Bill is selling it on GunBroker, here: https://www.gunbroker.com/item/737735122.
I can see this was a tough interview to start for Ian; Bill is an old school guy who is probably loath to talk about himself and what he’s accomplished. I shouldn’t have been surprised he uses CNC mills, but I was, a bit. Once he warmed up to being on camera, you could see him relaxing and expanding his stories, like the one about the Savage pistol. Good stuff.
Interesting information about bluing. I read somewhere that, even in the same plant, individual foremen would have their own special mix or method.
Regarding the collector market, I would rather have a restored gun I could shoot than an original I could not. But that is just me.
The man obviously knows his stuff, he is a practitioner, not talker. But slowly he became more engaged and eventually relaxed. My respect for him.
Regarding the pistols – they are really smart and efficient designs. Shame they did not find market implementation.
I was hoping you would take it out to the range and do some shooting.
What a great guy! Any chance we could see some more of his work?
I would have asked this engineer if he fired this pistol and how did it work? What was the level of kickback? Was it very accurate?